Great Interviews Are a Dialogue!

Interview DialogueToo many job interviews become one-way grill sessions. The potential employer asks a question and the candidate answers. Next question… next answer… and so it goes. Perhaps near the end of the interview, the employer asks if the candidate has any questions, then the process reverses for a few short minutes.

Then one candidate out of the many asks some questions as part of their reply to the question posed to them… and the whole dynamic changes! All of a sudden, the interview becomes a dialogue!

It’s more of a conversation between professionals to mutually come to a conclusion on a business decision.

That candidate stands out from the others, and has better information to make their own decision about whether the job is the right one for them.

Job seekers often don’t think it’s appropriate to ask questions during the middle of an interview. It can, however, be a great differentiator between them and most other applicants.

So what does it look like?  Here are some examples and recommendations…

  • Always ask questions appropriate to the topic being discussed. Don’t awkwardly ask a question that diverts the conversation in another direction if the interviewer hasn’t changed topic themselves.
  • As an example… if the interviewer asks: “Can you give me an example of how you work with teams?”

    You might reply: “I’ve had a lot of experience on project teams, one example of how I helped a team successfully meet our objectives was… (fill in the story). Can you tell me more about the team I would be working with here?”

  • These questions create a 2-way conversation, and give the interviewee insight into the company, manager, team and environment. They are a great way to find out what the job and organization are really like.
  • As an example… if the interviewer asks: “Tell me about the management style you prefer.”

    You might reply: “Generally I prefer… (give your honest preference). How would you describe the management style here?”

A discussion, back and forth with the employer and candidate each asking questions of each other throughout the interview creates a great impression, provides more valuable information for both parties to make a more informed decision, and results in a much conversational meeting.

Turn your interviews into a dialogue instead of a grill session and you’ll gain better results!

Harry Urschel has over 20 years experience as a technology recruiter in Minnesota. He currently operates as e-Executives, writes a blog for Job Seekers called The Wise Job Search, and can be found on Twitter as @eExecutives.

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  1. Discussions can also stem from company news or recent events. For instance, if the interviewer asks about a certain skill you possess, you can relate it back to something that could have helped the company to be better or assisted them in a project. This not only presents your talent, it also shows you’re interested in the company beyond getting a salaried position.

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